When you put a house on the market to sell, you will hear the mantra “declutter, declutter, declutter”. In addition to decluttering your house and garage, consider staging them before putting your house on the market and it is shown to potential buyers.
Staging and decluttering are important items to consider in real estate investing. They are not the same. How does decluttering differ from staging? Decluttering usually involves going through each room and disposing of excess furniture and other items. Staging, on the other hand, uses colors, furniture, and accessories to create an atmosphere in your home that stands out from other homes in the market. Staging is the presentation portion of marketing your home.
When staging a house, you can stage it for a generic buyer or stage it with a more specific look that would appeal to a specific type of buyer. For example, if you have a four-bedroom, two-bath home, you might stage the house to appeal to a family with children. On the other hand, If you have a one-bedroom condo in an urban area, you might stage it for a young professional.
Part of investing requires staging homes to cater to potential buyers and highlight the features that appeal to them. A staged home helps buyers visualize themselves living there. Staged homes generally sell more quickly than homes that have not been staged. It has been estimated that staged homes usually average a week or so on the market. On the other hand, homes that have not been staged can average over forty days on the market before sale.
If you decide to stage your home, who should do the staging? Choices include the homeowner, a realtor of a professional stager or interior designer. The important thing to remember is that you should not focus on personalizing the home for the seller. Staging is not done to please the owner. It is done to make the house appealing to a buyer.
Once you’ve decided to stage your home, there are steps that should be followed for the best result. First is decluttering. Packing away your excess items helps create the illusion of ample storage space.
The next step is to depersonalize the house. For example, many families like to display annual school pictures on a wall in the family room or near the kitchen. While family pictures are nice, they have no meaning to a potential buyer who is interested in real estate investing, who may see them simply as clutter. While you are putting family pictures away, purge as many pet-related items as you can. Not every prospective buyer is going to see Fido or Kitty in the same way as you do.
The final step before staging is to deep clean your house. Don’t skimp on this one. If cleaning becomes an issue of time or ability, get assistance. Either recruit family and friends or hire a cleaning company. Cleaning companies will be able to clean efficiently for you.
Once you’ve done this, you are now ready to stage. Here are some suggestions to consider.
1) Let the most light possible into your house. Check the overall lighting. Replace any burned-out bulbs. Clean the windows. Turn lights on before a showing. You you’re your home to be as bright as possible.
2) Group furniture into arrangements that will encourage conversation. Move furniture away from walls or into storage to improve flow.
3) Maintain a neutral color scheme. Avoid strong colors and check the paint store for “new neutrals”.
4) Update your finishes. Inspect existing painting, trim, and grouting. Change out any door and cabinet hardware. Paint rooms to make them look fresher and invest in new throw pillows, accent rugs, towels, and bedding.
5) Freshen up the outside. Cut grass and weed flower beds. Consider replanting flower pots.
6) Follow this designer tip by using an odd number of items in a grouping. For example, 3 chairs or 5 small pictures on a wall, Add interest by rehanging pictures and grouping accessories in groups according to color, shape, texture of purpose. For example, use a collection of antique bottles or kitchen utensils to spruce up a corner.
7) Set the dining room table with your good china or dishes. Unless it’s appropriate, don’t use seasonal ones like Christmas china.
8) If you have an unusual floor plan that gives you a small amount of usable but empty space, create a nook or desk space.
9) Don’t let an extra room sit idle or hold excess furniture. Decorate it with a purpose by turning it into a home office, or guest bedroom.
Staging a house is a big project, especially for those in real estate investing, but one that pays off in the end. You do need, however, to get the project done get it done before the listing goes live. Your realtor can help you find assistance in finishing up projects to get your house on the market. As you are working and making decisions, remember that you are staging for a potential buyer, not for yourself. Keeping that goal in mind is where a realtor can come in handy. They see what’s selling and they aren’t attached as you are to the items you may have in your home or your choice of décor.
Financially challenged to do a full staging? In a perfect world, you would be able to move out or go on vacation during and after the staging process. If you are unable to have someone do the staging for you, consider doing it yourself and doing only as much as you can.
Maintaining A Staged Home
This is difficult. It is hard to live in a house while keeping the staged areas spotless and without clutter. If you can’t move out in order while the house is on the market, have a housekeeping service come by on a regular basis. At the same time, ask for a reasonable notice before a showing. Allow extra time because of kids being in the house. If your realtor is having open house showings, board your pets the day before and the day of an open house.
Use any staging you do to highlight the advantages of your house that buyers are usually seeking. Anecdotal information is that a well-staged environment increases the amount of a buyer’s offer. Overall, staging has an impact on buyers and will help you sell faster and for more money. As you can see, staging is important. The investment in time, energy, and money to stage a home will help bring offers that the seller will happily consider.